"Spending counterfeit incentiveWasting precious time and healthPlacing value on the worthlessDisregarding priceless wealthYou can wheel and deal the best of themSteal it from the rest of themYou know the score, their ethics are a bore"
Lyrics from "Mr Businessman" by Ray Stevens
Faced with a choice at the moment. It's not easy to make life-changing decisions when it will have an affect on more than your own life.
My choice: Where am I supposed to be?
Currently I'm living in South Africa, a country I've come to call home since I moved here in 2003 but has become increasingly hostile towards foreigners. I'm British by birth. I've mentioned that in several previous posts. My wife and I have a business here that's growing - albeit slowly. But it's a single-string income. If something happens to her we have no income.
So my choice. I've actually made it, but it has been hard. For the last few weeks I've been applying for jobs in the Christian sector of British employment. It's not a large sector, and the pay rate is lower in general - not in all cases - than in secular business.
But it's my choice. I found an old cassette of Cliff Richard singing the song I quoted at the start. Listening to it again made me think hard about where I am and what I'm doing with my life.
This isn't the life God called me to over twenty years ago. I touch an individual here and there, maybe even make a difference to them too - which I value. But it's not where my heart is.
I've spoken to my wife and she agrees - reluctantly - that I should push the doors to return to England. She has to do courses to maintain her professional standing in South Africa which happen to be a requirement for her working in the UK as well. Two birds with one stone.
Since I made the decision there have been several changes, necessary ones but not ones I'd expected so soon. My right arm at work, a young lady I had come to rely on to help me keep things running put us into a position where we had to ask her to leave. By God's Grace she has remained a friend, and that is something I'm truly Blessed to say. Her replacement is efficient in her own way, which is one I find it hard to work with. We're different personality types and, well let's just say I march to the beat of my own drummer! I'm difficult to work with until I establish a rhythm with colleagues, mercifully this happens fairly quickly.
So I'm applying. I'm looking to expand my reach into a country I'd left not expecting to return to. I've experienced racial discrimination first hand. I've had to take subsistence-level employment that is aimed at school-leavers still living at home. I've had personal health issues and my family has been hit with cancers, chronic ailments too many to name and financial issues.
So my question.
What's important? What really matters?
I've been relatively affluent in the past. I've been on an income below the poverty-line as well. Paul said he could find God both in plenty and in lack, and so have I. Even when the financial institutions call and ask for a payment I have the strength to say "join the queue" to them. Literally.
I've learned what really matters is that I am in Christ and He is in me. That I love my wife with all my heart. And that together we can focus on what's crucially important.
Living our life the way Jesus wants us to live them, where He wants us to live them. He is our provider, not our business or employer.
The only thing that's truly important?
Jesus died so I can Live.